What increases my risk of vitamin D deficiency?

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If you avoid the sun, have your vitamin D levels checked by your doctor with a simple blood test.  About one-fourth of Americans have borderline low levels of vitamin D, and 8% have a serious deficiency. People with darker skin and people who have limited sun exposure are at greatest risk. Many people can’t or shouldn’t rely on the sun for vitamin D. If your level is low, your doctor can advise whether you should take seasonal or year-round supplements.
Audrey K. Chun, MD
Geriatric Medicine
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines people as being at risk of vitamin D deficiency when their 25-hydroxy vitamin D, or 25(OH) D, blood level of is less than 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).

Some factors increase your risk of deficiency. Vitamin D in the body is either ingested as food or made during the skin's exposure to sun. As you age, your skin's ability to produce vitamin D in the skin after exposure to sunlight declines, and if you get little or no sun exposure you're at risk. People with a medical condition that impairs vitamin D absorption, such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, or surgical removal of any portion of the stomach or small intestine, also are more likely to be deficient.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.